Saturday, November 21, 2015

Make Your Own Darn Taco Seasoning

There's no need to buy those packets of seasoning for tacos - chances are, you have the ingredients right in your spice drawer.  Making your own seasoning will save you the time of going to the store to buy the packets, the cost of buying the packets (I know, they're like $1, but still), and the space of having to store them in a small kitchen.  It takes literally five minutes to make, and uses very common spices.  And the best part?  It tastes much better!

I thought for sure that tacos would end up being one of those "ethnic" foods that actually originated in America, much like fortune cookies or a lot of the food you can find at Taco Bell.  But really, tacos have been around since before the Spanish arrived on the scene in Mexico, and, as it happens, taco is the indigenous word used for this meal.  These early tacos were usually eaten with fish.

This recipe is very simple.  First, brown one pound of ground beef.  Once that's cooked, drain it.

Use the time that the beef is draining to mix together your spices.  In a small prep bowl, combine 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon Oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want it).  Blend the spices together well.

Return the drained beef to the pan and add an 8 ounce can of plain tomato puree.

Cook the beef and the tomato sauce together for a few minutes, then add the spice combination.

Mix in with the beef well.

Done.  Now make your tacos however you please.  Tonight I used soft shell tortillas, and added sour cream, shredded cheese, taco sauce, and cooked onion and red bell pepper.

You could also multiply this recipe by however much you want and make a big batch of seasoning mix.  I'd add about 1/8 cup to your meat each time; I believe that's about how much is in a packet from the store.  You could, of course, also use this to season something other than beef.

I am a pretty big fan of ska music, and so for today's culture focus I happened to find a Mexican ska group called Tijuana No!  Unfortunately they are no longer together; they were active from 1992 to 2002, but the music still holds up in my opinion:

Man I love ska.  Can we get a fourth wave sometime?  Please? :)

1 pound ground beef
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
8 oz. can of tomato puree

Brown the ground beef in a pan over the stove.  Once cooked, drain the grease from the beef.

In a small prep bowl, combine the spices and blend well.

After the beef is drained, return it to the pan and add the tomato puree.  Cook together for around 3 minutes, then add the spice mixture and combine well.

Use seasoned beef to make tacos to your liking.

Sources referenced:
Wikipedia. "Taco." Accessed November 20, 2015.
Wikipedia. "Tijuana No!." Accessed November 21, 2015.!

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